"The concept for the digestifs at Piora first came about because our head bartender, Shinya Yamao, had this idea to create a dessert cocktail featuring banana and rum but wanted to do it without any added sugar or fruit juice," explains Simon Kim, owner and general manager of Piora in New York's West Village. The logistics didn't seem clear until Yamao came across the Oji Water Dripper, a Japanese cold drip coffee machine that allows the consumer to control the level of extraction.
'West Village' on Serious Eats
Cocktails at Wallflower, a new cocktail bar in New York's West Village, are the dominion of bartender Xavier Herit, who logged seven years behind the stick at the bar and lounge at Daniel before departing for his present post.
Now that summer's almost here, we thought we'd compile the best of the best in Manhattan as a quick-caffeination reference guide for tourists and locals alike.
Drinks at the recently opened West Village restaurant are grouped not by style or ingredient but by texture, falling under one of four categories: Linen, Silk, Velvet, and Leather. Raphael Reyes, formerly of 1534 and the Experimental Cocktail Club, is head bartender, though he is quick to note that the list is very much a collaborative effort with his team, which includes veterans from Pegu Club and Pouring Ribbons.
The latest from the folks behind the Mulberry Project and the Vinatta Project, this newly minted Greenwich Village spot is debuting with a cocktail list that aims to strike a balance between the accessible and the geeky. "I needed to come up with drinks that fit the season of, 'it's April, spring is here, but oh yeah, it just snowed last week,'" says cocktail director John McCarthy. His current solution for the season's bi-polar weather antics: focusing on vegetal and herbaceous flavors.
Difficult as it may be to remember, there was a time, not so long ago, before classic cocktails were commonplace and "secret entrance" neo-speakeasies were the norm. Such was the case in 2004 when Employees Only opened its (not so obvious) doors in the West Village.
Grounded in the West Village is known as an especially tea-friendly coffee shop, even selling their own line of loose leaf teas. Keep an eye out for their Rose Tea Latte ($4.75), in which a strong brewed, brisk black tea replaces espresso in a silky, extra-frothy latte.
Empellón, former WD-50 and Alinea ex-pastry chef Alex Stupak's new fancy-pants West Village taqueria, is a family affair, with him at the helm in the kitchen and his wife, Lauren Resler, heading up the pastry station. Not to be discounted is Lauren's brother, Matthew Resler, who leads the ambitious bar program. If you're into margaritas, you'd do well to order the Drunk Monk ($13), an odd-sounding cross between a margarita and an egg white-based foamy sour that really works.
The Winter Warmth ($4.50) at Soy Cafe couples frothed matcha with a spicy shot of ginger-infused honey. It's at once invigorating and comforting, and just sweet enough.
Part drink, part dessert, the Happy Jack is a well-executed latte steamed with spoonfuls of fragrant honey. A generous sprinkle of cinnamon tops it off.
Anfora is not a wine bar I'd recommend to everyone. If you like wine as the background music to a nice meal, and you're happiest with your regular Shiraz, you may be turned off. But if you're a little tired of everyday sipping and you want wine to surprise you, if you're willing to get a little dirty and a little funky, if you like your cheeses smelly, your chocolate salty, and your palate stretched a bit, then Anfora is the wine bar for you.
All the way in the back of Lifethyme, a health food market in the West Village, is a juice and smoothie stand. The all-fruit and vegetable juices are ordinary, but Coconut Smoothies ($7.50) stands out from the rest. These smoothies are fruit-based, your pick from fruit choices including blueberries, strawberries, and apples. Next comes the awesome part: a whole coconut blended in with the smoothie.
At Taim, the falafels are the city's best and the fries are just as good. As for the smoothies? Among the best in the city. Fresh fruit, little sugar, with the final drink more towards icy and refreshing than creamy and filling.